E-learning startup Area9 announced earlier that they had been acquired by McGraw-Hill Education. Terms of the deal were not disclosed officially, but rumored it could be as much as 1 billion DKK in total by Børsen (over €130 millions).

Area9 has had a collaboration with McGraw-Hill Education since 2007 and in early 2013 the company purchased already a 20 percent equity stake in the startup. The agreement announced now covers the 80 percent of the equity in Area9 that McGraw-Hill Education did not already own.

However, CEO Ulrik Juul Christensen says that the money is not what is most important in the acquisition, but rather that it underscores that Area9 are “the world’s best at what we do.”

Founder joins board at McGraw-Hill Education

Founded in 2006 in Copenhagen by Ulrik Juul Christensen, Tommy Olesen, Asger Alstrup and Chaudri Jamil, Area9 had grown to 66 employees. Their technologies fix the gaps in helping people learn with the goal of finding a better way of delivering training and education. As part of the acquisition Ulrik Juul Christensen will also join McGraw-Hill Education’s executive leadership team as Senior Fellow of Digital Learning.

“Personalization is the holy grail of education. Through Area9’s long relationship with McGraw-Hill Education, we’ve developed technologies that have changed the industry and improved lives by making learning more effective and efficient. As we become part of McGraw-Hill Education, I look forward to continuing our mission to reimagine teaching and learning through technology.” says Ulrik Juul Christensen.

Long collaboration

The acquisition marks the culmination of a longstanding relationship between the two companies and aims to solidifies McGraw-Hill Education’s position as the leader in adaptive learning – a method of education that helps drive student performance by making learning more personalized and efficient.

McGraw-Hill LearnSmart, the result of the first collaboration between McGraw-Hill Education and Area9, immediately became the leading adaptive study tool in higher education upon its release in 2009. By 2013, the LearnSmart product could boast with numbers like these:

  • 3 million total student users since launch in 2009
  • Almost 1,5 million users in 2013 alone
  • More than 2 billion questions answered by students using the tool
  • User growth of 45 percent in 2013 compared to 2012

This is one of the bigger acquisitions lately in the region, and we will move Area9 to the success stories section here on the site. Impressive achivement!